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A significant milestone for KitKat just 10 months after its public release

Google has just released its monthly report on the distribution of different Android versions among devices accessing the Play Store, and the milestone of KitKat crossing the 20 percent mark has come along this month. Coming up from from 17.9 percent as of July, KitKat now commands 20.9 percent of active devices, a solid jump for a 30-day period.

On the next step down, the three versions of Jelly Bean together make up 54.2 percent of active Android devices, a decrease from 55.5 percent last month (which saw a sharp decrease in the month before, as well). Ice Cream Sandwich dropped almost a full percentage point to 10.6 percent, and Gingerbread interestingly increased 0.1 percentage point to 13.6 percent of devices. Froyo is comfortably under 1 percent of active devices and will soon fall off of this chart, we can assume.

Android Platform Versions

It's interesting to see that KitKat is growing at a strong pace mostly at the expense of Jelly Bean rather than older devices running ICS and Gingebread, but we applaud the strong growth regardless. At this point we're expecting continued strong growth that could easily see KitKat cross the 25 percent threshold as it closes in on one full year in the market.

Source: Google Developers

 

Reader comments

KitKat is now running on over 20 percent of active Android devices

74 Comments

Well considering that this only measures phones that have the Google Play Store, that may not be the biggest group of devices bumping Gingerbread.

Remember, we're only talking about 0.1 percentage point increase here, I don't think you can look into it much as an "increase in Gingerbread usage".

Assuming that there are 1.000.000.000 active devices (and there should be according to Google) 0.1% still accounts for 100.000.000 devices.. I think it has more to do with rounding of numbers than devices.. 13.54999999 become 13.5 and 13.55 become 13.6.. it might just be down to Gingerbread devices being constant but haven slightly more usage on the play store this month then the last one..

Ha ha ha jep.. Early morning math before coffee is a bad thing.. still 100.000 devices don't just come and go from the Play Store..

Its easy, some consumers want a cheap smartphone. At retails such as Walmart and Amazon, they sell Net10 and Straight Talk Smartphone that come with either Gingerbread or even Ice Cream Sandwich on them and they cost anywhere between $50-$100.

You may see an increase because they don't go through every device active and visible to them, they merely look at a 7 day period preceding the report and tally the devices accessing the play store.

So there may be fluctuations in the count like little blips. Could possibly be that people are digging out older phones and using them temporarily and it just caught the tiny rise in use as someone restores their purchases onto the older device -- maybe they were waiting for a replacement device to their main device and that old phone in the drawer let's them stay connected while they wait for the replacement to arrive.

I think they are saying it's from counting Play Store hits. I have three old phones running GB. Two Moto Defys, and the recently flashed Nexus One. All three are running CM7, but only my Nexus One has a sim in it, so they probably count the store hits when I signed in, and accessed the store for apps on all three. I don't see how they can count phones that don't connect to anything at all. How would they know?

Jellybean 4.3 will always be the leader of the android platform. It's the best for handsets and will remain the platform minimum.

From my Galaxy Note 3 on T-Mobile via Android Central App

That means that people that are buying phones with Jelly Bean on it are actually getting updates instead of being left in the dust by the OEM. This is very good news.

i really think it would be a much greater number if they made it more compatible with all the older devices like they said they would be doing (like everywhere) .. i have a samsung galaxy s2 and i cant even get 4.2 or 4.3 or whatever it is .. ? thats sad .. it seems like theyre releasing the phones faster than they are updating the android os even .. it just makes them look desparate .. ..

There are probably some custom ROMs you could use to get kitkat on your device--a quick google search turned up some options in the top result. Most OEMs are providing major updates for ~2 years, which is reasonable considering that's how often many people upgrade their phones (in the US, at least). The S2 is now over 3 years old. The S3's recently received the kitkat update, but are over 2 years now and likely won't be receiving any further updates.

I think you're confused. Kit Kat is an os that runs great on slower phones, they've optimized it there. You're confused on the compatibility thing. They never said anything about compatibility, because android is compatible with whatever you want to make it compatible with. You CAN get 4.2 or 4.4, or any other version of android you want, you just have to flash a ROM on your phone with that android version. Google has nothing to do with how many updates you get, or if you continue to get updates, unless you have a nexus device. You're phones manufacturer is who decides if they want you to get the new version of android, so for you it's Samsung who left you with an older version of android and Samsung who isn't giving you the newest version. Really though, your phone is so old that it wouldn't benefit Samsung to upgrade it, they want you to buy a new phone.

Yes, at the root of the problem is that Manufacturers need you to get sick of waiting and purchase a replacement with a newer version of Android. They need some way to drive the marketplace and they don't care if you are using an older version. They will even claim that Kit-Kat will not run on your device, not because it can't it's because you won't buy a new device if that old device gets an upgraded OS.

This number is really low considering a new version Android is about to come out. That means the Android ecosystem is falling farther and farther behind.

Posted via Android Central App

Huh? No, it means that the OEMs and carriers are slacking - but let's keep something in perspective. For all the noise around each release, most everything Ice Cream Sandwich and up can run on the same phones. There is not a lot of difference and all these recent releases are actually minor releases. There are only 14.3% of phones reporting that are not 4.x. So that's 85.7% or so on the major release, and they are substantially the same. Don't play Tim Cook's game.

Posted via Android Central App

That's on carriers and manufacturers, not google. I have a feeling this release will be different though.

Posted via Android Central App

I agree, it's been nearly a year since Kit Kat was introduced. 20% is nothing to be proud of, sadly.

Posted via Android Central App

IOS updates also contains memory optimisations whereas Play Services only has security fixes and features

Posted via Android Central App on Google Nexus 7 2013

Its interesting to see that more devices are at least being upgraded or bought new with Jelly bean or KitKat. Not everyone owns or buys flag ship devices. Of course for some of those device, I believe root has played a roll too. I recently got my backup Smartphone -- Samsung Galaxy Nexus to run CM 11 (Android 4.4.4 KitKat) which is pretty good.

Google should refuse to offer access to the play store unless every new phone is running the latest available OS upon release date of a phone. Its mad to see new phones coming out without the latest software.

Posted via the Android Central App

Yeah, the customer losses by being able to go online, send texts, and emails, make phone calls, and use the playstore, as well as play some low end games all for about 50 US dollars....smh
A person who uses such a device doesn't care what Android candy is on thier phone. All they know is it works.

Posted via Android Central App using the all new HTC One (m8)

i wouldn't say ban them from the play store. but they should at least refuse certification to any device that launches with a version of the OS more than a year old. That way if u decide to buy it anyway you admit you don't expect any support or updates

They wouldn't have access to the play store if it wasn't certified though. I'm all for different versions of Android. It's open source. It's the nature of the game. Ultimately the consumer is the one who decides what they want.

Posted via HTC One on Sprint

Unfortunately my phone will probably die on KitKat, unless Samsung decides to further support the Note 2.

>I'm the kind of guy who stops a microwave at one second to feel like a bomb defuser.

This is why I can't watch Apple's keynotes. They throw around this whole fragmentation issue. As someone stated above in the comments about Samsung S3 running 4.3 I'm on 4.4.2 on Verizon. Nothing to brag about. But if someone who is a fan of Android makes assumptions like that, imagine what Apple can do with a 2 hour press conference.

Also, the only reason I'm even talking about Apple right now because I'm seriously considering trying the 6 if it's all what it's cracked up to be.

Posted via Android Central App

The fragmentation issue is bull. Android has roughly the same adoption of the major release as Apple. Apple is at about 89%, Android is at about 85-86% on 4.x. Bitching about adoption of minor releases is just smoke and mirrors. Even though my old Droid Razr is a bit laggy, I'd still be able to run just about every app out there, and it is stuck on 4.1.2. For all intents and purposes, I'm still on the major release and there aren't many important features that I'm missing that impairs my Android experience. That's why Gingerbread lives on. It still gets s*** done for its owners, and they aren't ready to upgrade yet.

Posted via Android Central App

Sorry, that Gingerbread uptick is my fault. I was using a 2.3.3 Optimus S on wifi for a few days, that phone has been off for years.

I think its more people getting rid of these old phones and replacing them with phones already running KitKat, rather than these old phone being upgraded.

Posted via the Android Central App

I have to agree on people buying new phones with KitKat on them if it is only 20% now and a few months down the road they are starting the updat of L it looks like alot of us will never get it. Tried CM and Pacman for a KitKat but both failed because i did not have a updated bootloader

and pretty soon it will all start all over again for Android L where people will slowly watch the struggle to get 20+% of devices running the OS.

Google needs to put a foot down. This crap needs to stop. All phones need to be able to get an ota OS update from google separate from carrier or OEM. All skins or carrier tweaks are treated as playstore updates. (like google search and keyboard) make it happen with the release of L Google!

Posted via Android Central App

They would probably allow Google to do it but Google would have to start installing bloatware for them. It wouldn't surprise me if they did do that but I am guessing they don't want to pay for the employees required.

Not a lot of 4.3 users probably because kitkat was so close after 4.3s release I guess even though Huawei has plenty of phones with 4.3

Posted via Nexus 7 2013 or Galaxy S5

I hope that with L manufacturers and carriers will get their acts together and push out the OS quickly and not out a bunch of crap on there.

Posted via Android Central App

My coworker was part of that gingerbread increase. She switched from a dumb phone to a smartphone but instead of buying a new one she was given an old droid something or other...one of the phones that had that camera hump at the top... and had it activated on her Verizon account, lol. If it is able to be updated she hasn't taken the OTA because I helped with a setting and had to take a second to remember how to access the settings...

Maybe this means Android has plateaued and only the übernerds care much anymore. Or maybe it was only the übernerds that ever did.

I'm seriously fine with my S3 still, and it's mostly stock. I just don't care anymore, and I was pretty flash happy there for a couple years.

Wonder how big android (the source code itself) would have to be to make it like windows. - for any hardware. OEMs just having to provide drivers. And sense or touchwiz being a separate layer running atop.Never going to happen but its a thought.

Posted via Galaxy ace plus running Speedmod 2.5 with Xposed

It always surprises me how slow android users are to upgrade basic OS software, or said more correctly, how so many cheap phones don't support the latest OS. Compare to iOS where pretty much every phone supports the latest, or even blackberry.

Posted via Android Central App